COMMENTARY | Are the Miami Heat becoming the second-chance "Bad Boys" of this ever-evolving NBA era?
With the signing of Michael Beasley to a non-guaranteed contract Wednesday, the Heat have now brought in three players in the past two years who wore a warning label even before they put on a Miami jersey. Last year, as USA Today reported, it was Chris "Birdman" Andersen and his now forgotten and prematurely reported child pornography scandal whom the Heat landed. In August, it was announced Greg Oden was getting a crack at redemption. Wednesday's signing marks the return of a former Heat draft choice whose career went south after he left South Beach.
Beasley was let go by the Heat in a trade to Minnesota in 2010 -- a move that helped land the three-star collaboration that has led to two NBA titles. In Minneapolis, Beasley averaged a career-high 19.2 points per game in his first year with the Timberwolves. But he became a backup the following year before landing in Phoenix, where, after his part-time role as a starter with the Suns, he wilted in the desert heat. As reported by ESPN, Beasley was released by Phoenix in the summer after he was arrested in Arizona for felony marijuana possession charges. The Suns bought out the former No. 2 draft pick's contract and sent him packing.
Now Heat president Pat Riley has given him a chance again. But the past couple years, that's what this Heat organization has been about: serving up seconds. Certainly, the Heat have done their part to ante up in second chances in this LeBron era. Birdman; Oden, who without a dogged past other than his damaged knees; and now Beasley are all part of the equation. Of course, none of them will be expected to score even close to what Beasley put up in Minnesota after parting way with Miami following the 2010 season.
Beasley and Oden are both low-risk moves, especially with Beasley agreeing to no guarantees in terms of the Heat's financial obligation part of the contract verbiage. Andersen, who was suspended for Game 6 in the Eastern Conference finals with the Pacers last year after shoving Indiana forward Tyler Hansbrough, was re-signed again this season in a low-risk transaction, too. Birdman re-signed for $1.7 million for one year with a player option in the second year. Oden inked a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum.
So ask yourself, has this new-era Heat organization become a harbinger for haves and have-nots? Is Miami the place to go these days when you're looking for a chance to revive your fizzling NBA career?
Sure seems like it.
Make no mistake, Riley is a shrewd businessman with a deep coaching pedigree and keen eye for talent. He is all about winning championships, and the Heat's appearance in the last three NBA Finals say something about his knack for constructing a winner.
The question that looms now, however, is will these guys make it through a season without problems? Will Beasley stay away from pot and legal problems? Will Birdman be able to go a full year without getting fined or suspended? Will Oden's knees make it through a full season?
Miami is the place to be if you're seeking an NBA title these days. Apparently, it's also the place to be when you're seeking a second chance.
Jim McCurdy is a freelance sports writer based in Miami. He has written for major publications around the country. Follow him on Twitter at @irishcurds.
- Sports & Recreation
- Michael Beasley
- Miami Heat
- Greg Oden